17 May – International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO)

This Thursday, we will be marking International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). We vehemently oppose such intolerance and believe that people should not be discriminated against, abused or harassed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It is a sad truth that over 80 countries in the world still criminalise homosexuality. These countries punish women, men and children because of their sexuality and in seven countries the punishment is death. An International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) provides a platform for everyone to make a powerful statement to demand improvements for the quality of life for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people both overseas and here in the UK.

So what are homophobia and transphobia?

Homophobia is the hostility, disapproval, prejudice, hatred or fear of homosexuals or those perceived as homosexual. Transphobia is the hostility, disapproval, prejudice, hatred or fear of transgender people or those perceived as transgender. There are many ways homophobia or transphobia can be expressed. These can include:

  • Making assumptions about a person’s sexuality or gender based on dress, behaviour, or personality.
  • Focusing on a person’s sexual orientation, rather than as whole, complex person.
  • Being afraid of social or physical interactions with people who are LGBT
  • Avoiding social situations or activities where you might be perceived as LGBT
  • Assuming that lesbians or gay men will be attracted to everyone of the same gender.
  • Treating LGBT people unfavourably, or refusing to provide access to goods, services or facilities.

The impact of homophobia or transphobia is widespread, much wider than you might realise. They

  • promote discrimination, and breeds intolerance
  • have a negative impact upon the performance of colleagues
  • damage self-esteem, increase absence rates and can lead to self-harm and suicide
  • prevent people from being comfortable in being themselves
  • promote exclusion and does not embrace diversity.
  • can impact not only individuals but their families, friends and children.
  • reinforce socially constructed gender roles (i.e. the belief that males and females act, think and speak a certain way)
  • lower achievement rates

More information on IDAHO is available here.

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